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Dear Mrs. Trump

Dear Mrs. Trump,

Thank you for the ten Dr. Seuss titles that you sent my school library in recognition of this year’s National Read a Book Day. (Sent second-day air, no less! That must have been expensive.) I’m proud that you recognized my school as something special. It truly is. Our beautiful and diverse student body is made up of children from all over the world; from different socioeconomic statuses; with a spectrum of gender expressions and identities; with a range of abilities; and of varied racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

According to the White House website, you selected one school per state by “working with the Department of Education to identify schools with programs that have achieved high standards of excellence, recognized by State and National awards and Blue Ribbon Awards…” Each of those carefully vetted schools received ten books: Seuss-isms!; Because a Little Bug Went KaChoo; What Pet Should I Get?; The Cat in the Hat; I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; The Foot Book; Wacky Wednesday; Green Eggs and Ham; and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!.

My students were interested in reading your enclosed letter and impressed with the beautiful bookplates with your name and the indelible White House stamp, however, we will not be keeping the titles for our collection. I’d like to respectfully offer my explanation.

* * * * *

My school and my library are indeed award-winning. I work in a district that has plenty of resources, which contributes directly to “excellence.” Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an amazing city with robust social programming, a responsive city government, free all-day kindergarten, and well-paid teachers (relatively speaking — many of us can’t afford to live in the city in which we teach). My students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science. Multiple studies show that schools with professionally staffed libraries improve student performance. The American Association of School Librarians has a great infographic on these findings. Many schools around the state and country can’t compete.

Yearly per-pupil spending in Cambridge is well over $20,000; our city’s values are such that given a HUGE range in the socioeconomic status of our residents, we believe that each and every child deserves the best free education possible and are working hard to make that a reality (most classrooms maintain a 60/40 split between free/reduced lunch and paid lunch). This offers our Title I school and the district a lot of privilege and room for programming and pedagogy to foster “high standards of excellence.” Even so, we still struggle to close the achievement gap, retain teachers of color, and dismantle the systemic white supremacy in our institution. But hell, we test well! And in the end, it appears that data — and not children — are what matters.

Meanwhile, school libraries around the country are being shuttered. Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit are suffering through expansion, privatization, and school “choice” with no interest in outcomes of children, their families, their teachers, and their schools. Are those kids any less deserving of books simply because of circumstances beyond their control? Why not go out of your way to gift books to underfunded and underprivileged communities that continue to be marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos? Why not reflect on those “high standards of excellence” beyond only what the numbers suggest? Secretary DeVos would do well to scaffold and lift schools instead of punishing them with closures and slashed budgets.

* * * * *

Carla Hayden

So, my school doesn’t have a NEED for these books. And then there’s the matter of the books themselves. You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature. As First Lady of the United States, you have an incredible platform with world-class resources at your fingertips. Just down the street you have access to a phenomenal children’s librarian: Dr. Carla Hayden, the current Librarian of Congress. I have no doubt Dr. Hayden would have given you some stellar recommendations.

Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes. Open one of his books (If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example), and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art. Grace Hwang Lynch’s School Library Journal article, “Is the Cat in the Hat Racist? Read Across America Shifts Away from Dr. Seuss and Toward Diverse Books,” reports on Katie Ishizuka’s work analyzing the minstrel characteristics and trope nature of Seuss’s characters. Scholar Philip Nel’s new book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black? The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books, further explores and shines a spotlight on the systemic racism and oppression in education and literature.

I am honored that you recognized my students and our school. I can think of no better gift for children than books; it was a wonderful gesture, if one that could have been better thought out. Books can be a powerful way to learn about and experience the world around us; they help build empathy and understanding. In return, I’m attaching a list of ten books (it’s the librarian in me) that I hope will offer you a window into the lives of the many children affected by the policies of your husband’s administration. You and your husband have a direct impact on these children’s lives. Please make time to learn about and value them. I hope you share these books with your family and with kids around the country. And I encourage you to reach out to your local librarian for more recommendations.

Warmly,

Liz Phipps Soeiro
School Librarian
Cambridge, MA

Editor’s Note: Please also read “Paging Miss Manners” and “Not So Simple Gifts”.

Liz Phipps Soeiro About Liz Phipps Soeiro

Liz Phipps Soeiro is an elementary school librarian in the Cambridge, MA, Public Schools. She is an advocate for inclusive libraries and active in her community to create spaces that are welcoming to all students. She tweets @Cport_Special @ReflectLibrary and blogs at reflectivelibrary.blogspot.com

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Comments

  1. Rebecca Hachmyer says:

    Well stated, Liz Phipps Soeiro. Thank you.

  2. Vicki Solomon says:

    This is a great, thoughtful, honest letter. It would be nice if it fell on open ears.

  3. Here are excepts from President Obama’s proclamation about the value of Dr. Seuss, for Read Across America Day 2016. (Somehow, if these books from Mrs. Trump had been sent by Michelle Obama, I doubt this librarian would have sent them books back, though neither woman had been elected to any public office).

    READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY, 2016
    BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

    The moment we persuade a child to pick up a book for the first time we change their lives forever for the better, and on Read Across America Day, we recommit to getting literary works into our young peoples’ hands early and often.

    March 2 is also the birthday of one of America’s revered wordsmiths. Theodor Seuss Geisel — or Dr. Seuss — used his incredible talent to instill in his most impressionable readers universal values we all hold dear. Through a prolific collection of stories, he made children see that reading is fun, and in the process, he emphasized respect for all; pushed us to accept ourselves for who we are; challenged preconceived notions and encouraged trying new things; and by example, taught us that we are limited by nothing but the range of our aspirations and the vibrancy of our imaginations. And for older lovers of literature, he reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously, creating wacky and wild characters and envisioning creative and colorful places.

    Today, and every day, let us celebrate the power of reading by promoting literacy and supporting new opportunities for students to plunge into the pages of a book. As Dr. Seuss noted, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Together, we can help all children go plenty of places along their unending journey for knowledge and ensure everyone can find joy and satisfaction in the wonders of the written word.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2, 2016, as Read Across America Day. I call upon children, families, educators, librarians, public officials, and all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

    BARACK OBAMA

  4. Thank you so much for this powerful and important letter that should be read by all. Also loved your book recommendations, especially RED: A CRAYON’S STORY, with its emphasis that we should be accepted for who we are on the inside and not be labeled because of how we look on the outside. Three cheers for your wise words!

  5. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    I would agree that the Dr. Seuss Default is no respecter of party lines!

  6. Carrie Sheinberg says:

    Sing it woman!!!! You are awesome.

  7. It’s sad that someone had something of value to say, but felt he or she needed to remain anonymous because the words did not follow the current view of the works of Dr. Seuss. I’ve written a biography of the man, done a ton of research on him, and saw a flawed human being who loved to write for children. I think that is who any of us who write for kids tends to be. He was a product of his time, in so many ways, and it’s wrong to judge him and his work purely in the light of today’s overcharged rhetoric. How many children learned to read in large part because of his silly, delightful books? How many even noticed the nuances and depictions so many are critical of today? Let’s not throw out the Seuss books.

    I do agree with the librarian who made sure the First Lady understands that she really doesn’t understand what is going on in today’s kidlit world or the economics of the school systems across the nation. That’s disturbing. As disturbing as what looks like The Donald’s handwriting as her signature.

  8. Would just like to remind the author that no one receives a free education. Someone has to pay for it. And I am not impressed with her list of books of indoctrination. And that a simple thank you would have been all that was needed. That is what the previous administration would have gotten for a similar gift. Just a thank you, no insulting letter.

  9. Kristen Emack says:

    Message delivered with excellence, poise, knowledge and humor and fire. Well done.

  10. Great letter! What are the ten books you recommend? As an educator and former school librarian (my position was eliminated), I’m always looking for great titles for kids!

  11. Elissa Gershowitz Elissa Gershowitz says:
  12. Slapping the face of a gift-giver, in my part of the country, is considered rude.

  13. If I may comment to the above post regarding Barack Obama:

    You, sir or ma’am, make no sense considering you just brought up Dr. Seuss books not being returned for Read Across America Day, which is held on the birthday of Theodor Geisel.

  14. Paula Guiler says:

    You are my new hero(ine)!

  15. Perhaps the author may benefit from reading Emily Post’s book on manners.

  16. Rosa Ziebell says:

    I applaud the courage to raise a key issue. Why donate books to an affluent, high performing school? The selection criteria is correlated to the affluence. If Mrs.Trump wants to have impact, it would be more effective to target schools with less resources. She could encourage schools that show improvement or some other metric showing engagement.

    I don’t agree that the books selected are not good choices. These are classics and not alienating in the manner of a Richard Scarry book for example.
    I do like the idea of working with our national librarian to be cutting edge on the latest good reading for kids.

  17. Kimberly waaso says:

    A gift, this was a gift. The larger picture, concept is to teach children not only to ‘read’ but to be gracious, to have manners. This librarians actions were point blank, rude. As a parent her ‘opinion’ regarding Dr. Suess is irrelevant. The First Lady, Mrs. Trump, challenged the children to dream! Bravo Mrs. Trump and parents who children are doomed to this librarians involve be cautious!!!

  18. Does anyone remember ‘Yertle the Turtle’? It was part of a compilation of Suess stories I grew up with. I wish more people knew about it. Kind of timeless I would say.

  19. So the rules here state to be respectful? Really? It seems the author doesn’t follow her own rules. The first lady sent a gift. I was raised to say “thank you” when a gift is received, not use it as a platform for bullying or being rude to someone on the basis of a difference of political opinion. I think that this is an appalling example of disgraceful behavior. I am not a fan of Michelle Obama, but I believe that had I received a gift from her that I would have had the decency to say “thank you” and to show her the respect she deserved as first lady.

  20. I am appalled by this. How about teaching our children to be grateful for a gift, accept the gift and say thank you? I am stunneecover the lack of manners. Why is it ok to teach our children to be rude? Perhaps they should send the librarian a book on manners. And it is her opinion, not fact, that Dr. Suess was racist. Interesting that some only want children to read books that they think are appropriate. This is indoctrination and spells trouble for our future. I think this librarian should be made to write a letter of apology to our First Lady.

  21. I believe a simple “thank you” is in order to acknowledge the gift. I am so tired of everyone making everything about politics. If Barack Obama had sent those books, I’m sure they would have been accepted graciously. Perhaps Mrs. Trump should stop offending such an outstanding school librarian and stop these gifts. Forget the children that would enjoy and benefit from them. Sad that there is no longer common courtesy being shown by this educator. I cannot imagine what type of citizenship lessons must be taught at your fine school. Also, Horn Book Family Reading Blog, I believe you have deviated from your stated purpose with this letter. “Welcome to the Horn Book’s Family Reading blog, a place devoted to offering children’s book recommendations and advice about the whats and whens and whos and hows of sharing books in the home.” I will remain anonymous because I know those whose opinions differ will be happy to attack me personally.

  22. She took the opportunity to speak truth to power, point out destructive education policy, bad execution of a good idea and brought up a not-so-well known view of a children’s classic that any politician might want to be aware of -even if it’s a fringe opinion. And she even suggested a solution to the problem she pointed out. I’d give that an A+.

  23. alison connelly says:

    I love this on so many levels!!

  24. I think this is disgraceful and unmannerly that you are shaming our First Lady for a kind gesture and gift.

  25. Gregory Jablynski says:

    The smugness and self righteousness of the author is beyond belief. Does she stay up nights looking for ways to be offended? Does she wear a tin foil hat to receive explanations of racism and hate from Liberal Command Center on Venus? Has this woman never been taught how to display simple graciousness and gratitude for a gift given with good intentions? Does the left”s hatred of the Trumps overrule everything else. I’m sorry if this letter doesn’t meet your guidelines but it is the most respectful words I could hear to type.

  26. C. Martin says: “And that a simple thank you would have been all that was needed. That is what the previous administration would have gotten for a similar gift. Just a thank you, no insulting letter.”

    You are a god sent! Your 100 % right and all this bitch wanted to do was get some fame. People are so far gone that they will do anything and sheeple will follow the mass hysteria. I think it’s so damn funny!

  27. A gift from the first lady, with a personal touch and encouraging words meant to lift up and empower children should be appreciated and honored. Even if you don’t have the same politicial views, you should be able to honor that and show kindness and respect… i.e. when you receive a gift, you say thank you.

  28. I’ve never heard anyone be as ungrateful as the author of this article. I’m completely stunned and appalled. Someone sent you a gift. A lovely gift. And you write a letter criticizing the person that gave it to you?? Furthermore, I’m a librarian at an intercity school. I work at the type of school the author just alluded to. I am not offended in the slightest by the fact that you received a gift and I did not. This is completely absurd. Try to have some class.

  29. Andrea Martin says:

    What an incredibly arrogant response to a nice gift. I am a Cambridge resident and would expect no less from the C’Port school and its staff.

  30. Cora Sharfman says:

    Wow, what a ridiculous letter. Thanks for teaching our children to be ungrateful and entitled. It would be unacceptable to return a gift from anyone with such a ridiculous letter, much less the First Lady. Would you have said this to Michelle Obama? If not, then you need to keep your politics to yourself instead of being so self-righteous and condescending in your phony indignation.

  31. Parent of a "doomed" child :) says:

    To the “rude”, “mannerless” and “ungracious” author of this “insulting letter”, GOOD FOR YOU !

  32. just so you know, the book list of your 10 recommended books for mrs. trump leads to a 404 error.

    thank you for this post. it is amazing.

  33. For those who say say thank you, the author says thank you, read the first sentence again. I think the letter was very well thought out and more power to her!

  34. Matt Weaver says:

    The thought process of the liberal mind continues to baffle me on a daily basis! What in the hell happened to just saying “thank you” when receiving a gift, whether you liked it or not?? To me, that is simply going out of your way to be rude. Period. Frankly you should be ashamed of yourself for publishing this asinine letter, allowing the public to see just how shallow your views really are. With all due respect, ma’am, you are in need of some serious self reflection. Also, I’m 40 years old and my entire family, including my own children, have grown up with Dr. Seuss and his wonderful books. My mother, a life long teacher and principle with a master’s education, read them to me as a child. How is it that I’ve made it 40 years without once associating his work with racism? In fact, I would have died without associating, or having any knowledge whatsoever of racism in a Dr. Seuss story until you felt the need to broadcast it. That’s how propaganda works, and you are spreading a dangerous cancer onto impressionable mounds by declaring such nonsense. Just think, you could’ve avoided all the backlash you and your school are about too receive by just doing the right thing. I hope it was worth it.

  35. This gift wasn’t an innocent gesture, it was a not-so-subtle signal of the values of this administration. The books listed share the voice of a single white male author, so if you’re worried about indoctrination, look no further. And the schools were chosen as a celebration of privilege rather than an attempt at equity. It’s important to speak truth to power. I’m proud of this brave librarian.

  36. Nancy Burris says:

    DR. SUess made me want to read…to myself, my children, my grandchildren and if I am so lucky my great grand children!!!! I am just an ordinary person with no particular claim to fame, but my world was made far brighter by Dr. Suess books, and I will be forever greatful for his fantastic gift!!!

  37. And if Michelle Obama did the exact same thing , everyone would be praising her and saying how gracious and kind it was. Just a simple “thank you” would have been nice.

  38. Smile, say thank you, and re-gift like the rest of us. No need to make an official statement about everything. It was a kind gesture, as most gifts usually are. How about YOU quietly donate the books to another school, and not require 15 min of fame or recognition for doing so.

  39. To the naysayers – There was a time to stand up for “good manners” and “treating people with respect.”

    You enthusiastically support a guy who talks about grabbing p*ssys, portrays himself physically attacking people he disagrees with, and uses his office to call people sons of Bs when he should be worrying about his own job.

    You can talk about “manners” if you want, but your credibly on the subject is burned.

  40. Precisely, because your school is well-funded, Mrs Trump thought it as a simple and sweet gesture to present the 10 books to your library, and not a $1 million token! There can never be enough of books as long as there is the passion to read. If you say your school doesn’t need these books, are you speaking on behalf of the school management, or the children who love to read? I’ve read And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street multiple times to my daughter, and I’ve not detected an ounce of racism. At times, ideas of racism becomes real only if we perceive to be so, if you try to look too hard to draw derisive differences, even if there is none.

  41. I guess saying “thank you” is old-fashioned these days. I think it’s extremely rude and disrespectful to send a letter like this, and I think it reflects very poorly on our profession. I’m surprised Horn Book published this at all. I truly hope that you’re aware that librarians hail from all political affiliations, and no, not all Republicans are white supremacists. I think tying our message to a political party or ideology is a huge mistake. All parties fall out of power, and when they do, we could very well lose our funding and our power to spread a love of learning and literacy. I just wish our profession was more fair and balanced, I’m sick of seeing articles that portray the entire profession in this manner. I’m not a huge fan of Trump, but I do know how to accept a gift graciously even if I don’t love the gift giver. And I do think this profession should be wary of forgetting that we are a diverse lot of people with all kinds of beliefs and backgrounds.

  42. I am 100% liberal and anti DeVos, but I find much of the letter super sanctimonious.
    Every writer is a product of their time (and you, letter-writer, as well). Are you anti-Dickens, too?
    Do you find Twain damaging? Give me a break.

  43. Right on, Librarian. Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful letter. I hope the First Lady reads it, takes note, and has a good conversation with Dr. Hayden.

  44. Bernadette David says:

    I took a moment to check out your school’s library catalogue on the Cambridgeport School website and was not surprised to see that you have a number of Dr. Suess books listed in your existing collection…. I hope these books find a home with some appreciative children.

  45. AnotherNon, who said anything about supporting Donald Trump??? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the majority here are stating the author is lacking good manners and etiquette. Why does this have to be about supporting Donald Trump?

  46. Simply saying “thank you” in response to this gesture from Melania Trump would be the equivalent of saying thank you to a boss that cuts your department budget in half , takes away your healthcare, overtime, family sick leave benefits and then sends you a fruitcake and a card for Christmas!!! You people who can’t see that are either intellectually challenged or politically biased. Cut the stupid rhetoric and bullshit about manners. ENOUGH!!!

  47. SUDDENLY, DT apologists are concerned with manners and propriety,
    Gutless hypocrites.

  48. The author said thank you, but no thank you to the gift. She was just wishing to return the items because they were not inclusive. Some of you sound more like butthurt white people. The difference between Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Trump is obvious. Mrs. Obama is a well-educated woman and would have researched the books herself…my guess is that those of you screaming about this and screaming that she was being rude but would not have to Mrs.O are the same ones screaming about the athletes taking a knee. The lady made you uncomfortable…get over it. I agree with her. Thank you, but no thank you…I prefer to have my grandkids read books that expand their minds and sorry, but those won’t do…

  49. This libration is correct that what you do can impact a child’s life. Hopefully children are not learning from this thanks but no thanks letter is that gifts can be judged and deemed not good enough. I was taught that gifts are like little blessings. No one has to give you a gift, no matter how rich they are. You are not entitled to anything. So when someone gives me a gift I am actually greatful and say thank you.

  50. Nice to see librarians have plenty of time to pen such cute, mindful letters, that shows exactly whats wrong with today’s education. You surely model to our students such grace, open mindedness and acceptance to all! I’m so looking forward to seeing your protest of Theodor Geisel on Dr. Suess Day!

  51. Sing it, Sister! This proud mama, who works hard dawn to dusk, is right there with you. Truth!!!

  52. If it were 2016 and Michelle Obama gave this school a series of Dr. Seuss books, she would have received a “Thank You” letter filled with polite praise. This is smug.

    I voted Democrat in the 2016 election, and intend on doing so in the 2020 election. I think the Trump administration is a disgrace that has flooded the White House with gross incompetence and hypocrisy. But messages like this are why half of the country is sick of us. If you don’t want the books, donate them to someone who will appreciate them, and find a better platform to make your points about DeVos (which certainly have merit).

    I’ve never met a child who extracted racial undertones from “The Cat in the Hat.” You’re an educator —
    please set a better example for your students and by choosing your battles more responsibly.

  53. Kristi Bott says:

    When someone gives you a gift, you graciously accept it and thank that parson. When that person is FLOTUS, you put politics aside and let your students know that due to their hard work, they were selected to receive this amazing gift. It sounds like you have a wonderful school and I am so happy to hear that. But teaching your students that they didn’t earn the books they received ( hauntingly similar to “You didn’t build that” only disappoints little minds. This whole story makes me sad. Can’t tou put your identity politics aside for one moment and give your precious children the girt that FLOTUS sent them. The same is true for all students…underprivileged students deserve government help and gifts to incentivize them. So do students who perform well. They are people too.

    It warms my heart to see you at least somewhat respect our amazing FLOTUS with your words, even though you humiliated her with your refusal of her gift and showed your students that they are not deserving of a gift from our FLOTUS. At least you didn’t sling hate like I see so often, thank you for that. But please think about the message you sent your students. You basically told them that as more privileged children than many others, they do not deserve recognition for hard work, or gifts from FLOTUS, or really anything. You cannot fix a wrong with another wrong.

    Respectfully,

    Kristi Bott

  54. Kristi Bott says:

    I apologize for the many typos in my comment. I meant you no disrespect by those and I’m so sorry they are there.

  55. Roger Boyce says:

    I am on the Extreme end of the left political spectrum – The Dear Mrs. Trump letter was fine with me until it got to Dr. Seuss. The suggestion that “Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.” is two-dimensional nonsense. The contentions which follow close upon that unsubstantiated, but monotonically damning, sentence are akin to the laughable fundamentalist ‘Christian’ suggestions that Teletubby Tiny Winky could be a hidden homosexual symbol … because he is purple. Literalists on both ends of the political spectrum scare bejeezus out of me. Folks with little to no creative fire of their own sometimes attempt to reduce the nuanced, fictional, characters, conjured by life’s rare creative geniuses (such as Theodor Geisel) as little more than ideological Punch & Judy hand-puppets. I am reminded, in particular, of the serial grief dished out, by literalists, to one of the world’s great living novelists – Philip Roth – for his multi-faceted and morally ambiguous characters. Characters who couldn’t be bothered ‘teaching’ us the sort of ham-fisted ‘lessons’ that bad literature, TV, and film insist on doing in their predictable condescending ways. Roth was variously and cartoonishly labeled ‘self-hating jew’, misogynist’, and even ‘racist’, for the fictive actions, thoughts, and pronouncements of characters who existed solely on the page. Nothing could be further from the truth – in both Roth’s and Geisel’s case. Sorry to go on and on here … but this sort of thing is a particular bugbear of mine and a perpetual bane to creative artists of all genres. The fact that the letter’s writer is a librarian is further chilling. I was lifted up and out of my relatively low origins by attentive, old-school, librarians. I am confident the two women who mentored me in great literature would be aghast at the rise of literalists … across the political spectrum. The librarian who wrote the letter is the false face of political progressivism and provides comedy-fodder for right-wing, and religious, political reactionaries. And makes me less willing to publicly identify as a progressive.

  56. Kindly do not judge Trump’s wife by his standards. Her manners have not been called into question, and her objective was clear: to give kids some school pride. Her choice of schools is a bit questionable, but if you go through life dividing people into good and evil camps you clearly haven’t read many of the books found in libraries.

  57. Rude, pompous, and disrespectful response to a lovely and thoughtful gift. Oh, of course, must be a liberal.

  58. Daniel Wasil says:

    This is essential American discourse.

    It’s polite and to the point, with explanations that are easily understood and calm. The horror of the Trump administration is harming everyone it touches, and must be resisted by any means necessary. Thank you for this necessary pushback.

  59. KatieAnnieOakley says:

    Interesting how “Melania Trump’s” signature is identical to Donald Trump’s signature. Even right down to the black Sharpie he always uses. I’m guessing she knows nothing of these shipments of children’s books.

  60. I’m surprised how many people are saying “it’s a gift! Just say thank you! You’re so rude.” I think this was a brilliant post, you’ve hit the nail right on the head – the schools chosen already have the resources they need (which IS why they already test well) and these books are very singular in tone. I don’t think pointing this out is rude at all.

    I love the people saying if the books came from the Obamas it would be accepted. I think they would have been trying to donate some more diverse books to kids who really need them, rather than this exercise.

  61. As much as I love Dr. Seuss, I feel sure that in this day and age EVERY school library would already have a complete set of his work; FLOTUS could indeed have conferred with the Librarian of Congress to identify some more recent books from a more diverse group of authors.
    I wish the author had written a shorter letter, choosing one point on which to concentrate. I can’t tell from reading this what is more important to the author, educating FLOTUS on appropriate book selections or showing her scorn for the administration’s underfunding of schools and poor attitude toward education in general…
    I agree with ALL her points, of which I’ll pick two: l
    I dread what will happen to America’s schools under Betsy DeVos, a horribly inappropriate choice to lead the school system
    I dread what will happen to America under Trump, a horribly inappropriate choice to lead our country.
    I just don’t think one letter is the place to say it all.

  62. elaine goldman says:

    As a former first grade teacher, i am disappointed in the author’s letter. My kids and my students read Dr. Suess with great joy. They did not see sterotypes and degrading drawings. They saw giggles and silly loving creatures. So what if she sent the wrong books. I am no fan of her or her husband. However, how preachy that letter was. Get over yourself. You could have addressed all your issues at a city council meeting or take it up with your school board. To write a letter like that and to go on and on about your school problems was not an appropriate response and truly taking advantage of social media and the First Lady.

  63. Wow. So this is what happens when someone, especially a woman, speaks up about something. She’s grabbing for her 15 minutes of fame, people have said. She’s picking on poor Melania and her husband, but if Michelle Obama has sent those books there wouldn’t have been a problem, someone else has said.
    Please.
    She added her name and credentials to bolster her argument, and stand behind it.
    And if its not such a big deal, and believe she should have just quietly regifted embossed books with Melania’s name in, then maybe its for you to get over–not her.

  64. Alan Tanner MD says:

    I thought this was a rude, ungrateful, and, worst, stupid letter from a biased, “socially programmed” arrogant person. You should have said “thank you,. Or , “thank you very much”. Or, “how kind of you”. Your politics do not matter. The color of your students doesn’t matter. How much the parents make doesn’t matter. The outrageous cost per student doesn’t matter except that someone has to pay for it (any wonder the teachers cannot afford to live there?). Diverse or not doesn’t matter.

    How find your letter simply ridiculous. Now I need to worry about librarians as well as the teachers with regard to their socially programming the students.

    Pitiful.

  65. HeroSandwich says:

    Huge supporter of librarians and public school educators. Letter’s foray into the critique of the content of the books undermined the elegantly trenchant points about the sloppy program of sending ten books (of any content, caliber or popularity) to high-performing schools. This is the point. The Suess critique might be true, but it was unnecessary to make the point. We need to be aware of when we ourselves play into stereotypes. This revolution will not be won in the echo chamber.

  66. Remember two years ago when everyone and their mother (including liberals) started having their children’s teachers sign a copy of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”? I remember that. I guess now that Melania Trump sent some copies of it to schools it’s a terrible, horrible book written by a complete racist. People have way too much time on their hands. Seriously, people like this woman are completely insufferable. For the record, I can’t STAND Trump. I hate that he’s our president. But can we stick to bashing them where they deserve to be bashed? Stupid stuff like this just gives Trump supporters credibility when they talk about what offended little snowflakes liberals are. The woman gifted books to schools. Well loved books that have been loved for years. Books that have been helping children learn to love reading for a LONG time, and this woman isn’t going to put them out in her library? I really just don’t get it. It’s insane.

  67. Perfectly worded. The people that call this a “thoughtful gift” are not seeing that it was in no way thoughtful. It was offhandedly telling an assistant, “Let’s do something media worthy.” For those that think “If Michelle did this…” well, she wouldn’t. Because it’s thoughtless and meaningless. What malarkey to send 500 common books to the 50 best state schools. What a useless gesture.

  68. Didn’t Dr. Seuss also write cartoons to fight racist policies and politicians? https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/01/dr-seuss-protest-icon/515031/

    That said, it couldn’t hurt to update the classics (children may not read Mother Goose as much as they used to either, and the world has not crashed to an end).

    I would add “And Tango Makes Three” to the list also. Maybe it’s been out awhile, but I think it hasn’t been widely read in many parts of the country.

  69. Zoe Morosini says:

    But…look at the letter. Doesn’t Melania have her own signature?

  70. Victoria Perkins says:

    Thank you so much for standing up for students like the ones at my school. We serve the highest number of 2nd language learners in my state, and have 100% free lunch, breakfast, and a healthy snack (thanks Michelle Obama) provided so our students have plenty of nutrition throughout the day. I love everything that you said and although I am a huge Dr. Seuss fan I hadn’t read some of the racism connections that you mentioned. Thank you for sharing these as well. I love Dr. Seuss for what he contributed to the world of literacy with kids. He made books that taught a lesson as well as books that made it easy for students to read. For that, I will be eternally grateful. I will however do some more research thank you. Your community is very lucky to have you as a leader in your library!

  71. @ AnotherNon Since you can accuse some of how did you say it “You enthusiastically support a guy who talks about grabbing p*ssys, portrays himself physically attacking people he disagrees with, and uses his office to call people sons of Bs when he should be worrying about his own job”

    You seem to feel this excuses you from supporting ” stand(ing) up for “good manners” and “treating people with respect.”

    We read you loud and clear I hope you and the Librarian who went out of her way to insult Mrs, Trump both enjoyed yourselves.

  72. Bob Richter says:

    I’m not a fan of the President, but I am a fan of the First Lady, since she’s clearly a person doing the best she can in a job she very clearly does not want nor expected to get.

    That being said, this seems a particularly silly gesture to make a big deal out of; it’s Dr. Seuss, for crying out loud. The books we all grew up reading, and looked forward to reading to our children, and look forward to reading to THEIR children. I agree with the commenter that said the recipients should have just said, “Thank you!” and left the rest of it unsaid.

    I think this is illustrative of why we are so divided; Michelle Obama cannot say, “Kids should eat healthy food.” without being pilloried, and Melania Trump cannot give Dr. Seuss books to a school without being lectured about this or that. Is there no issue so small or so benign that good people cannot drop the partisanship and simply smile and say “Thank you?”

  73. For all of you who seem to take umbrage that a “gift” was accepted ungraciously, consider this: what if you and your twin brother had a birthday. And what if your twin brother really needed a car: for his survival. And what if you already had a car. And then what if your nasty thoughtless aunt gave you a car for your birthday and then gave your brother nothing. Is that when you’re supposed to say nothing and accept the gift graciously? Or write a thank you note? This is not an Emily Post moment. And it certainly is no birthday party. And I wonder if the people who seem so obsessed with manners are the same ones who have a problem with “political correctness.”

  74. This wasn’t a gift. It was a reward from the privileged to the privileged. The author points that out. Why not give these books to the underprivileged?

  75. To the folks that are asking this author to say thank you and accept a gift graciously, I want to point out that if no one speaks up, nothing will change. Schools who have no need for books will continue to receive them, and underfunded schools will have empty libraries. Dr. Seuss books will continue to be given despite the fact that there are fantastic current kid lit books that will speak to a diverse generation of children. I thought the author did receive the gift graciously, and did thank the first lady, and made a point of suggesting how the program could be improved. This is how we make change happen.

  76. Jennifer Powers says:

    This article must have been shared in some extreme places to garner such grammatically-challenged responses. I think Mrs. Trump was insensitive in her choice of titles given the recent revelations about the content in Dr. Seuss books. I won’t be throwing out my Dr. Seuss books because so many children have learned to love words, rhyming, and rhythm through their reading of his books, but we also won’t be celebrating Dr. Seuss week any longer. Instead we’ll participate in Read Across America by celebrating books and reading and inclusivity. Mrs. Trump’s gesture was also unhelpful. Most affluent school libraries already have these books if they’ve chosen to purchase/keep them, while there are thousands of schools that desperately need books of any kind. Why congratulate successful schools in this way? Shouldn’t Mrs. Trump be sending books and resources to schools that truly need them? Another reason why this current administration is definitely not “of the people”.

  77. I like this letter, -what it says about what the Trump administration is doing to libraries, education – but I wish it didn’t trash Dr. Seuss or The Cat in the Hat. That cat taught many children to read and to love reading. I agree though that it is a dated choice, there must be many more contemporary choices, and I would love to be able to see the list of new books recommended. Link is broken. Please post. Thanks.

  78. Bob Campbell says:

    The President of the United States has always been looked upon to set an example of decorum, reflection, some degree of morality, leadership, compassion, altruism, statesmanship and many other traits. A compass of dignity to set a path for our citizenry to follow. Our President has done none of this. It is a demanding, often thankless, job,For which no man or woman can execute perfectly. A critical ,reflective and historical look at the administrations of the 20th century and the current one could look at any one of the mentioned traits and others not mentioned and find flaws in every administration. Sadly the present Administration and Congress seem to take pride in having more flaws than any other Administration in our history. If they really wanted to make America great they would not be compounding them on daily basis.
    The letter to Mrs. Trump was not one I would have ever written. A simple thank you and regifting to another school or less fortunate family. indicating appreciation for the thought and telling her that the Cambridge schools already had many of the books. Her letter reflects her anger and frustration. It was well written as a response to Mrs.Trump’s complicity in supporting the deplorable actions of our President. situation thinking Her chest thumping about the Cambridge schools had many of the underlying negative tones set by the Trump administration. It is sad, indeed ,that the librarians letter, as true as it was, is how so many Americans are thinking. The tone set by the administration has too many becoming cynical. I am not sure America can wait another 3 or7 years. It’s getting to the point where we are sick and tired of Donald Trump and his cronies.

  79. “Hmmmmmm, meh” As an educator I love Seuss. Yes he was flawed and very political but that is why I love him. Yes his books are all those things mentioned but they also point out the issues of the world especially back then which many still exist. It is a careful balance and all about the presentation. If anything I would shy away from his more controversial ones until the kids are older but the younger themed ones are just fine. If anything I would be more critical of his made up language sing-song books which makes it a hard read for ELL kids.

    With that said, you are so correct with the outstanding literature available these days. That is for sure and exciting. Free books are usually about what they can get for free in mass from the publisher. I was the RIF coordinator for years. It is not always that cut and dry. I do feel the White House should have chosen better and given the books to a poorer school. I do agree with the commenter that said be grateful. I never look a gift horse in the mouth and I am a vile opposer of the Trumps.

  80. LibLibrarian says:
  81. Suess, as an author, is just as significant and problematic as Mark Twain. Both were progressive for their time. Both had ideas that do not age well. I don’t think we should dismiss the racism in their work as “of its time.” It needs to be examined. I also don’t think we should dismiss their work because of it.

    There weren’t many people writing children’s books that criticized racism (The Sneetches and other Stories) in 1953. There weren’t many children’s books about environmentalism in 71 (The Lorax). But yes, he also did cartoons with vicious caricatures of Japanese people and black face in the 30s and 40s. I absolutely understand the argument that The Cat in the Hat is a minstrel, and I think it’s a valid one.

    There are also a variety of diverse contemporary picture books that Ivanka could have chosen instead of the lazy default of sending Seuss books. In that regard, Seuss is a cliché. But Seuss is still important and still relevant. But like Twain, when teaching Seuss, we need to offer context.

  82. Sounds like racist indignation with ignorance. Bad combination.
    READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY, 2016
    BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

    The moment we persuade a child to pick up a book for the first time we change their lives forever for the better, and on Read Across America Day, we recommit to getting literary works into our young peoples’ hands early and often.

    March 2 is also the birthday of one of America’s revered wordsmiths. Theodor Seuss Geisel — or Dr. Seuss — used his incredible talent to instill in his most impressionable readers universal values we all hold dear. Through a prolific collection of stories, he made children see that reading is fun, and in the process, he emphasized respect for all; pushed us to accept ourselves for who we are; challenged preconceived notions and encouraged trying new things; and by example, taught us that we are limited by nothing but the range of our aspirations and the vibrancy of our imaginations. And for older lovers of literature, he reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously, creating wacky and wild characters and envisioning creative and colorful places.

    Today, and every day, let us celebrate the power of reading by promoting literacy and supporting new opportunities for students to plunge into the pages of a book. As Dr. Seuss noted, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Together, we can help all children go plenty of places along their unending journey for knowledge and ensure everyone can find joy and satisfaction in the wonders of the written word.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2, 2016, as Read Across America Day. I call upon children, families, educators, librarians, public officials, and all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

    BARACK OBAMA

  83. Ignorant Race-Baiter Librarian,
    Please seeBY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

    The moment we persuade a child to pick up a book for the first time we change their lives forever for the better, and on Read Across America Day, we recommit to getting literary works into our young peoples’ hands early and often.

    March 2 is also the birthday of one of America’s revered wordsmiths. Theodor Seuss Geisel — or Dr. Seuss — used his incredible talent to instill in his most impressionable readers universal values we all hold dear. Through a prolific collection of stories, he made children see that reading is fun, and in the process, he emphasized respect for all; pushed us to accept ourselves for who we are; challenged preconceived notions and encouraged trying new things; and by example, taught us that we are limited by nothing but the range of our aspirations and the vibrancy of our imaginations. And for older lovers of literature, he reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously, creating wacky and wild characters and envisioning creative and colorful places.

    Today, and every day, let us celebrate the power of reading by promoting literacy and supporting new opportunities for students to plunge into the pages of a book. As Dr. Seuss noted, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Together, we can help all children go plenty of places along their unending journey for knowledge and ensure everyone can find joy and satisfaction in the wonders of the written word.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2, 2016, as Read Across America Day. I call upon children, families, educators, librarians, public officials, and all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

    BARACK OBAMA

  84. The letter starts with “thank you” and ends with “warmly” but the thanks are not real, the gift is refused, and warmth? Ha! It’s the smugness and disingenuousness of tone, not the politics, that induce discomfort here, and the sly, passive-aggressive little cuts: “Sent second-day air, no less! That must have been expensive.” Zing! There was surely a way simply to accept the gift and still make the points. All in all, a wonderful gesture, if one that could have been better thought out.

  85. I sent two comments. It will be interesting to see if you “moderate” it.

  86. We all want to change the world, but…

    If being a social justice warrior means having manners like the one this librarian reflects in her letter to the First Lady, don’t you know that you can count me out. If it means depriving schoolchildren of the experience of having a letter from the First Lady of the United States to them being read aloud because some gatekeeper librarian thinks she or he knows better, don’t you know that you can count me out. If it means pouring the red paint of cultural Marxism over every single thing in society, including TCITH, don’t you know that you count me out.

  87. Tracey Gray-Reed says:

    A wonderful protest letter from the resistance, and an impressive tour de force! A mere thank you would not have sufficed… I applaud you for recognizing the teachable moment this opportunity presented. We can only pray that with persistent effort, and unrelenting stress, little by little, hardened hearts will thaw. #wewillnotbemoved

  88. It’s unfortunate the author decided to take this opportunity to strip down Seuss, muddling an otherwise clear and resonate message that this administration has a lot of nerve gifting a public school when they have demonstrated they have no interest in serving public schools or the children and parents that rely on them. This was not a gift, it was a burdensome chore for our glassy-eyed First Lady who so clearly wants nothing to do with the position of influence that has been thrusted upon her.

  89. Started powerfully but lost me with the Seuss stuff. Anybody can reach and put whatever they want onto a character, especially once the author is dead. Anybody ever read contemporary Jane Austen criticism? Yikes. I see the Cat in the Hat as that countercultural artist heart beating in the bland, conformist 1950s. Yes, I do agree that there are far more choices that could have been donated to a school nowadays that reflect diversity but the thrashing of Seuss lost me and felt like somebody hashing a grudge. Geez.

  90. Roger Sutton says:

    Kate, I see the same comment from you twice. Our website is having problems so please bear with us

  91. Eileen M. Soliday says:

    This absolutely infuriates me! This reminds me of my ex-sister-in-law who cried and complained about every single Christmas gift she received! I absolutely hated that behavior then and now. I taught my children to be grateful for every gift they received. It didn’t matter if they had one already, or they disliked the gift. It was a gift from someone who wanted them to have it. Be grateful. Say thank you.

  92. Marina Lopez says:

    Where I come from, you say thank you when you are given something, regardless of the value. The writer’s agenda here is obvious. If it had come from another FLOTUS, say Mrs. Obama for instance, the praises for her would’ve been sung to high heaven.

  93. Wow; how rude can you get. How about Thank you!!!! Dr. Seuss books Rock!!!!

  94. Eileen M. Soliday says:

    I have already commented. But, my comment is not showing. Hmmmm….This is one ungrateful school librarian. If she doesn’t want those books, there are many schools who would love to have them. Please forward those books to a school and a school librarian who would be grateful for the gift.
    This librarian reminds me of my ex-sister-in-law who hated every gift anyone ever gave her. She cried and moaned until we all gave her our cash register receipts so she could exchange them. This is really bad behavior and I am certain that this librarian has this same bad behavior. So ungrateful. So Rude.

  95. “Amazing” FLOTUS?
    YOU ARE EASILY AMAZED!

  96. Why are you people drinking this woman’s kook-aid?
    This was a rude and condescending letter.
    Pretty soon you’ll be going after everything and everyone in the public eye. It’s people like you that are dividing this country.
    What happened to thank you and moving on!

  97. Brent Jeffries says:

    Funny how all these people who love Trump because he “tells it like it is” and isn’t PC, then hate it when someone tells it like it is. I guess it’s only ok if it goes in one direction. And to those of you who suggest that the response would have been different had the books come from Michelle Obama, you are probably right; she and her husband would never have put someone so incompetent and hostile to public education in charge of public education.

  98. Oh. Good. Grief. Dr. Seuss? Give me a break!

  99. Not so proud Cantabrigian says:

    Dear Miss Phipps Soeiro,

    First of all it isn’t YOUR SCHOOL, it isn’t YOUR CITY I cannot believe that you would write such a letter. What a slap in the face and disrespect to someone who was doing something nice. This was a gift from the First Lady of the United States of America. If this doesn’t make the city of Cambridge look like a bunch of cry babies….boo hoo, so you don’t like her husband, what are you doing in 3 years….maybe you should run for President? Get over it!! Do I agree that perhaps there was another city or town in the state of Massachusetts that should have received the books, yes. I bet that school district would have accepted them with grace and appreciation. Since when is it ok to make everything about race? To me, the Cat in the Hat was a Cat who happened to wear a hat. I guess this is how YOU teach your children. I’m so glad my kids don’t go to your school!!!

    I do not like you here or there, I do not like you anywhere!! I would not like you in my house, I think you are somewhat of a louse. I won’t not like you on a boat, I think you act like a goat!!

  100. Michael Coleman says:

    An elementary librarian denouncing the author of “The Sneetches” (“stars upon thars”) is the saddest thing I’ve seen this year.

  101. What an incredibly rude response to a gift. If this is what it means to be a social justice warrior, COUNT ME OUT. Dr. Seuss books make reading fun and encouraged generations of children to read. Maybe you’ll believe it coming from Obama (since you refuse to believe it from FLOTUS due to your political crusade, which is hurting, not helping, your students):
    “March 2 is also the birthday of one of America’s revered wordsmiths. Theodor Seuss Geisel — or Dr. Seuss — used his incredible talent to instill in his most impressionable readers universal values we all hold dear. Through a prolific collection of stories, he made children see that reading is fun, and in the process, he emphasized respect for all; pushed us to accept ourselves for who we are; challenged preconceived notions and encouraged trying new things; and by example, taught us that we are limited by nothing but the range of our aspirations and the vibrancy of our imaginations. And for older lovers of literature, he reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously, creating wacky and wild characters and envisioning creative and colorful places.”

  102. karen kosko says:

    Liz…You ROCK!

  103. Shayndl Forrester says:

    I’m of two minds about this letter. The administration’s policies re public schooling are certainly misguided but I’m not sure that aiming a critique of its policies at the hapless First Lady is useful or even appropriate in this instance. And there are good points made on both sides of this discussion. That said, anyone who supports or defends this administration would counsel anyone to courtesy and propriety is clearly not paying much attention to the man in the White House who is uninformed, ill mannered, uncivil, and publicly potty mouthed. Whatever the context, I imagine Dr. Seuss would find this president to be a very bad model for our children as he is for the entire country.

  104. I am a liberal, but I find this letter very rude and supercilious. You receive a gift, you thank the person giving it, and if you have no use for it, you regift it to someone you may use it. As for Dr. Seuss, many of his books taught very good lessons. (The lorax is a good example). And many, many children have been inspired to read by him. I find bashing him unwarranted.

  105. It is indeed interesting the number of people who cannot read and yet comment on the “rudeness’ of this letter. Go back to the beginning, the first two words after Dear Mrs Trump, you will find the words “Thank you”. I am saddened to read that Dr. Seuss is now regarded as racist, given his time and era and his message ‘a person is a person no matter how small’, but Enid Blyton was once regarded as promoting homosexuality because Noddy slept with Big Ears. Our world is expanding in its understanding at a faster rate than ever before and a deeper analysis means we all benefit. That the First Lady has such easy access to experts and chooses not to use them is indicative of the value this family appears to place in the results of higher education. Sad

  106. Fred Sebastian says:

    Wow. It must have been exhilarating to dress down the first lady after receiving this gift. Fun! And as childish as we might expect from one of the students at her school. I’m sure she’s a shining role model.

    At least Liz seems to recognize that the failing schools she mentioned, in Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit are all cities that are failing their children, despite enormous budgets and a very long history of Democrat-controlled governments. Hmmm… let’s use some critical thinking here… What is that? Is it because students might have a “choice” about where they attend, since schools are failing them? Why is it that “choice” is a bad word to teachers unions and “progressives” in everything other than killing babies in utero?

  107. Lori Redding says:

    Liz Phipps Soeiro is My Hero! Thank you for mentioning my very underresourced Chicago (CPS) learners!

  108. The best reason to look a gift horse in the mouth. Obviously this one has false teeth. You rock, Liz!

  109. UFT In Da House says:

    I feel like Michelle Obama wouldn’t send Dr. Seuss books…

    I feel like not all gifts are genuine gestures of generosity and sincerity but sometimes acts of desperation to please or even to ameliorate and/or appease…

    I feel like sometimes a gift can be condescending and offensive in itself, depending on its nature…

    I feel like people who do not work in city public schools have vastly differing opinions on anything education-related than those who do…

  110. You are moderating this site in a very unfair and biased way. Comments you’ve allowed to be posted make it very clear that it’s fair game and even encouraged to insult FLOTUS, while anything remotely negative about the author is rejected. Censor much? Given your track record, I’m sure this comment is not likely to be posted. I really hope you don’t educate our kids using your Pravda-like methods

  111. Did anyone tell Mrs. Obama that “The Cat in the Hat” was racist. Here is a link to an article with her celebrating Dr. Seuss and reading the book to children.

    https://the44diaries.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/first-lady-michelle-obama-celebrates-neas-read-across-america-day-and-dr-seuss-birthday/

    I commend both first Lady’s for promoting reading. It’s easy to throw stones at those we don’t like, even when they are doing something that we all ultimately agree with, promoting education.

  112. jacqueline canfield says:

    Huge issue, putting books in the hands of everyone. Not ipads, either, but real page turning books with beautiful art and enriching text. Children love them, there is an abundance of excellent books for learning and pleasure, and every child in every neighborhood in the world should have access to good books. It is not poor manners to point this out, as public education is a government responsibility, and should realize the value of reading and enticing all children to love reading. Thanks for pointing this out to someone who should have realized this, the haves and the have nots.

  113. Sorry, I refuse to stop liking Dr. Seuss. And refusing the gift was rude. She could have written a letter thanking the First Lady for the gift AND introducing the idea of newer titles. Conservatives are going to have a field day with this one. BTW, I am liberal Democrat who can’t stand DJT, but this is just ridiculous.

  114. It’s disturbing to me that the media is constantly asking the Trumps to be good, do good and speak good things, but when it’s obvious that here she was trying to do just that…a simple and good gesture, that it’s still raised up for ridicule and persecution.

    Doesn’t one good deed deserve another? How about just being gracious?

  115. I can’t help but laugh. She honestly believes she is “inclusive” while denigrating an entire segment of the student body with her dogwhistle comments. In fact, her comments clearly show she has no interest in the actual education of all her students, but rather is solely focused on the interests of only a few.

    Her students would be FAR better served if Liz would check her virtue signalling and actually work to acculturate her students. Failing that, she should be prepared to provide the same respect and resources to EVERY child, and refrain from providing insult to ANY culture as she has done in this column.

    NOTE: I checked the list of books for the First Lady that you referenced, and I’m appalled. I didn’t see a SINGLE book on your list that contained any reference to Ruthenian or Tsalagi culture. I am GRIEVOUSLY OFFENDED, as neither my father’s or my mother’s cultures seem to hold value in your eyes.

  116. Absolutely love this. It’s super interesting to me that as many people take issue with the “gift refusal” as they do with the remarks about Seuss. Thanks for recognizing the privilege of the your district and pointing out what reads as an extremely empty gesture.

  117. An additional note for people who are worried kids will stop being motivated to read if Seuss is phased out (or simply removed from the position of ONLY CELEBRATED FIGURE IN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE), any educator or librarian worth their salt, or person with the desire to search around JUST A BIT will find the market stocked with easy readers, engaging stories, clever rhyming schemes, and relatable characters. Having fond memories is fine, but children’s literature does not need Seuss to survive.

  118. Cheryl Mankin says:

    I read all the comments saying that Ms. Soeiro should have just said thank you and STFU. And then I remembered history. I remembered how things don’t change if they’re not called out. I remembered how children learn institutionalized racism and bigotry by the subtle cues around them, the pervasive cultural mores that we absorb unconsciously until they’re so ingrained we don’t know how to think outside them. I remember that I love (still! at the age of 56) Dr. Seuss and I remember that he was a product of his times and his cultural mores and I remember that we’ve worked damn hard on moving PAST those mores, and then I remember that today’s children will pick up those books and read them and revert to those mores, unless their parents teach them differently. And then I stood up and applauded this librarian, and took a knee on her platform.

    I further remembered that Dr. Suess can still be presented to children as great stories with occasional flaws that can be addressed by loving parents so children can learn how not to pass on their own foibles to their next generation.

  119. Savage_ 101 says:

    All tje people who respect this letter are also great but malania trump didnt take it afensive. And she said tjank you many time in the letter

  120. Maureen Roszkowski says:

    One of the first things I learned in my communications studies is that, before writing about something, consideration should be give as to the intended audience and the venue wherein the writing will be presented. Here are some suggested edits that you might want to think about next time you want to write persuasively and aptly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktQG6kpH14s&index=35&list=PLNVZrzgUhlHYSmIUZ-PcGIanZqXM4rIg6. It is the English teacher in me. Thank you for considering my suggestions.
    Maureen Roszkowski

    SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 BY LIZ PHIPPS SOEIRO 100 COMMENTS
    Dear Mrs. Trump,
    Thank you for the ten Dr. Seuss titles that you sent my school library in recognition of this year’s National Read a Book Day. —omit—(Sent second-day air, no less! That must have been expensive.)—omit— I’m proud that you recognized my school as something special. It truly is. Our beautiful and diverse student body is made up of children from all over the world; from different socioeconomic statuses; with a spectrum of gender expressions and identities; with a range of abilities; and of varied racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

    According to the White House website, you selected one school per state by “working with the Department of Education to identify schools with programs that have achieved high standards of excellence, recognized by State and National awards and Blue Ribbon Awards…” Each of those carefully vetted schools received ten books: Seuss-isms!; Because a Little Bug Went KaChoo; What Pet Should I Get?; The Cat in the Hat; I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; The Foot Book; Wacky Wednesday; Green Eggs and Ham; and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!.

    My students were interested in reading your enclosed letter and impressed with the beautiful bookplates with your name and the —omit—indelible White House stamp—omit—, however, we will not be keeping the titles for our collection.

    I’d like to respectfully offer my explanation.
    * * * * *
    My school and my library are indeed award-winning. I work in a district that has plenty of resources, which contributes directly to “excellence.” Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an amazing city with robust social programming, a responsive city government, free all-day kindergarten, and well-paid teachers —omit—(relatively speaking — many of us can’t afford to live in the city in which we teach).—omit— My students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science. Multiple studies show that schools with professionally staffed libraries improve student performance. The American Association of School Librarians has a great infographic on these findings. Many schools around the state and country can’t compete.

    Yearly per-pupil spending in Cambridge is well over $20,000; our city’s values are such that given a HUGE range in the socioeconomic status of our residents, we believe that each and every child deserves the best free education possible and are working hard to make that a reality (most classrooms maintain a 60/40 split between free/reduced lunch and paid lunch). This offers our Title I school and the district a lot of privilege and room for programming and pedagogy to foster “high standards of excellence.” —omit—Even so, we still struggle to close the achievement gap, retain teachers of color, and dismantle the systemic white supremacy in our institution. But hell, we test well! And in the end, it appears that data — and not children — are what matters.—omit—

    Meanwhile, school libraries around the country are being shuttered. Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit are suffering through expansion, privatization, and school “choice” with —omit— no —omit— [suggest less hyperbole [seemingly little] interest in [the] outcomes —omit— of
    —omit— [for] children, their families, their teachers, —omit— and —omit— [or for] their schools. Are those kids any less deserving of books simply because of circumstances beyond their control? —omit— Why not go out of your way to—omit— [Perhaps] a gift of books to underfunded and underprivileged communities [would be more encouraging and fulfill a great need.] —omit— that continue to be marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos? Why not reflect on those “high standards of excellence” beyond only what the numbers suggest? Secretary DeVos would do well to scaffold and lift schools instead of punishing them with closures and slashed budgets.—omit—
    * * * * *
    So, my school doesn’t have a NEED for these books. —omit— And then there’s the matter of the books themselves. You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature. As First Lady of the United States, you have an incredible platform with world-class resources at your fingertips. Just down the street you have access to a phenomenal children’s librarian: Dr. Carla Hayden, the current Librarian of Congress. I have no doubt Dr. Hayden would have given you some stellar recommendations. —omit—

    —note from mkr- excerpt from the Library of Congress website, https://blogs.loc.gov/catbird/2014/06/summer-reads-for-children-and-young-adults/ — “I learned that while the Young Readers Center does not create reading lists of its own, staff there do frequently recommend children’s book lists from other organizations. Foremost among those organizations is the American Library Association (ALA), the national library association of the United States. Through ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), young readers looking for a good book can review lists of notable children’s books and award-winning books. Even more, ALA’s page on library summer reading programs, which gives an excellent overview of the widespread adoption of summer reading programs by U.S. libraries, includes links to ALSC’s summer reading list for elementary and junior high students, as well as recommended lists from the Young Adult Library Services Association. For a comprehensive set of reading lists from ALA, which includes lists for children, young adults, and adults, you can review its “Recommended Reading” fact sheet. —end of excerpt; end of note—

    —omit— Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes. Open one of his books (If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example), and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art. Grace Hwang Lynch’s School Library Journal article, “Is the Cat in the Hat Racist? Read Across America Shifts Away from Dr. Seuss and Toward Diverse Books,” reports on Katie Ishizuka’s work analyzing the minstrel characteristics and trope nature of Seuss’s characters. Scholar Philip Nel’s new book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black? The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books, further explores and shines a spotlight on the systemic racism and oppression in education and literature. —omit—

    —note from mkr— A very different perspective on Dr. Suess. Read here: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/14765-radical-reading-the-progressive-dr-seuss —end of note—

    I am honored that you recognized my students and our school. I can think of no better gift for children than books; it was a wonderful gesture, if one that could have been better thought out. Books can be a powerful way to learn about and experience the world around us; they help build empathy and understanding. In return, I’m attaching a list of ten books (it’s the librarian in me) that I hope will offer you a window into the lives of the many children affected by the policies of your husband’s administration. You and your husband have a direct impact on these children’s lives. Please make time to learn about and value them. I hope you share these books with your family and with kids around the country. And I encourage you to reach out to your local librarian for more recommendations.

    Warmly,
    Liz Phipps Soeiro
    School Librarian
    Cambridge, MA
    FIL

  121. Dr. Seuss spoke out against Nazi Germany through his books. He also pictured many social evils, such as exploitation of the poor in Yurtle, exclusion and social ranking in Sneeches. Sorry, I just don’t buy this anti Dr. Seuss stuff.

  122. For those who think Liz’s letter is too harsh, or unnecessary, I would commend you to *really* look into the devastating policies of Betsy deVos, who is singularly unqualified to hold the post that she does – and whose campaign contributions were rewarded with her appointment.

    It was a nice but misguided gesture by the First Lady. She is also supposed to also be taking on the issue of cyber-bullying, which is so important for our children. Were there useful books on that subject that she donated? But, given that she will not act to rein in, or speak out against, her atrocious bully of a husband she’d best look elsewhere for subject matter that she might be more credible about. And, perhaps, she might also ask librarians about the books on her list so she can improve its relevance, while then sending them onto communities who really do need the resources.

  123. I am reading these comments and wow. I am flabbergasted. I hear a lot about the message that the librarian is send into to the students and manners and not being grateful. Yet I have seen no one speak of the message the librarian is sending Mrs. Trump. No one is concerned about the schools in Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit which the librarian speaks of, no one is concerned about the quality of education those students are getting. I am only hearing how disgusted you are about Her not saying thank you. She has a point and unfortunately to many people are missing it. In essence she did say thank you, however she also brought up valid points that the White House should be aware of; and that it comes from an administrator for an elite school is a bonus…. Perhaps now someone will listen.

  124. What a pompous response.

    It’s a virtue to “graciously accept a gift”.

    It’s also a virtue to be polite.

    Maybe your “award winning school and library” could invest in some books on manners?

  125. SMHatthisworld says:

    Matt Weaver: “With all due respect, ma’am, you are in need of some serious self reflection. Also, I’m 40 years old and my entire family, including my own children, have grown up with Dr. Seuss and his wonderful books. My mother, a life long teacher and principle with a master’s education, read them to me as a child. How is it that I’ve made it 40 years without once associating his work with racism? In fact, I would have died without associating, or having any knowledge whatsoever of racism in a Dr. Seuss story until you felt the need to broadcast it.” How did you, indeed? It’s called privilege, sir. The very kind that the author of the letter is trying to explain. Indeed, it is the same privilege that suggests that people (often of color, as well as women and the poor) should smile and say thank you, even when the “gift” is, at best, misplaced and, at worst, degrading and humiliating. Kind of like when POC are encouraged to be thankful that we “liberated” them from slavery and have “given” them advantages — you know, “decades” of affirmative action — which white folks were not “privy.” SMH

  126. So much cultural sensitivity is on eager display in the kidlit world: here extended to a woman from Yugoslavia who almost certainly never read an American children’s book in her life … It’s more than kind of you to school her that a selection of kids’ books from the most famous American exemplar of the craft is unacceptable, and that in America, owing to our great prosperity, the way it works is we curate for other people what their gift to us should be; and we always make a point to comment on the method of shipment.

  127. Sue Fenwick says:

    You are obviously very proud of yourself. Maybe you need to read a book on manners. But just in case you don’t have a book on manners in your well-stocked, well-funded library, a simple “thank you” is a polite response.

  128. Picture a librarian using a public platform to “educate” FLOTUS Michelle Obama on a gift of books and telling her that President Obama’s policies were going to do ‘harm’.

    Not only would the librarian be publicly chastised for ingratitude and rudeness, I doubt it would be more than 24 hours before such a librarian would be looking for another job.

    Yet here is Ms. Soeiro, virtue signally in the sweet comfort that the Left-dominated academics around her will support her boorishness.

    The gutting of classics due to the melanin level and sex of the author is appalling.

    SHAME on you, Ms. Soeiro. You are the embodiment of Victor Frankl’s quote “There are only two races in the world, the decent and the indecent.” You have chosen the latter.

  129. Arthur L Blakey says:

    I like to commend this librarian for he concise and thoughtful comment on the schools in the inner city that more would need these resources, and pointing out the policies put forth by Betsy Devos and the neglect of the proposed budget of Trump and Devos. According to DeVos, this budget protects “the nation’s most vulnerable populations.” But the reality is the opposite: It eviscerates equity investments that have worked to help vulnerable kids and families, and it diverts $1.3 billion to failed strategies that hurt kids. The good news is that the American people understand the threat this budget poses to our schools and kids. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, 83 percent of Americans oppose cutting funding for after-school and summer school programs.

    When DeVos was nominated, parents and teachers sounded the alarm based on her harmful record in Michigan. We warned that she was an anti-public education ideologue with no knowledge about what kids or schools need and no experience in public education outside of trying to demolish it. Her actions during her first months in office, and her attempt to take a meat cleaver to public education, prove that our fears were well-founded. Exposing the potential consequences is the first step in averting them.

    Public schools enable opportunity and a pathway to success for kids, but these cuts drive a stake through the heart of public education and destroy the promise and potential it offers our children.

    By eliminating after-school and summer programs, Trump and DeVos are telling working parents: Either work and leave your young children unsupervised for several hours a day, or stay home with them and lose the job you need to pay the rent and grocery bills. For many children with tough situations at home, school may be the only safe sanctuary they can count on, or the only place they reliably receive a meal each day; this budget would rob them of that safety and security. These cuts would leave kids hungry and unsupervised, and force them into potentially dangerous situations.

    We can’t go back and undo what DeVos did in Michigan, but we can and must stand up and stop her from pushing this anti-public school agenda across the country.

  130. I am about a left as they come, but I think the letter to Mrs. Trump was inappropriate and, quite frankly, mean-spirited.

    A gift of books was made to your school. You don’t like them? Great. Give them to a school with less funding than yours that is in dire need of a printed page.

    As for Dr. Seuss being all those things you said he is…sorry, I’m not buying it. My late husband and I vetted books for the kids for just those things, and never was Dr. Seuss even considered. In his world. _nothing_ was sacred and _everything_ was ridiculous. That’s why the guys loved him. And now my granddaughter does.

    It’s sad that you find hate where there is none to find, and that you must label, tag, and reduce that gentle man’s humor to rubble. Who’s next? Harry Potter?

    I know much about your school from one of its teachers, and I have always admired the work done there. Tonight, however, I feel sorry for your students. They are being made afraid of reading by you, Ms Soeiro, and you, of all people, really shouldn’t do that to kids.

  131. Diana L Cappella says:

    The gracious thing to do would have been to accept the books and then donate them to the school or schools that you felt needed them more instead of publicizing a rejection of the gift. Saying thank you would have sufficed. I am happy we have freedom of speech in our country. I am just saddened that we have forgotten basic manners and class.

  132. Interesting view of Dr. Seuss. With all your learning I hope you gain understanding. Understanding of graciousness and manners. Understanding of respect to those in authority. I would not want you to teach my children on inclusiveness when you don’t have a simple concept of being kind.

  133. Well, one thing for sure, someone has learned to display mild-mannered decorum and sugar-coated narcissism as ‘professionalism’… Perhaps she can cite the source of this bit of knowledge?

    Knowledge, without the presence of wisdom, can make any intellect – highly established or just getting started — look more stupid than an ignoramus…

  134. This letter and the attitude of this librarian is appalling. She would have been more effective if she would have graciously thanked our First Lady for her thoughtful gift and recognition to the students of this public school. Then she could have informed the First Lady that she would research a school that was in need, and donate all or part of the books to that school in a gesture of paying it forward. I am a former resident of Cambridge and my daughter spent 3rd and 4th grade in the Cambridge school system in 1997-1999. Although I was pleased with the education she received, I was not impressed with the way the Cambridge school system placed students in what was supposed to be an equal distribution of race and socioeconomic status in all of the Cambridge Schools. What I saw happen was that while there may have been a range of diversity in each school, the classroom was a different story. The students were not placed in classrooms that reflected their diversity. What I saw was a classroom of all black students with a “tough” white teacher. Then I saw a classroom of all white students (which my daughter was in) lead by a “mild-mannered” and wonderful black teacher. You would have had to be blind to not see a discrepancy here. The system may have improved in the past 20 years, but back then, the only thing that I saw was fake. Lets be the change we want to see in the world.

  135. Peter Cotsis says:

    Note to Ms. Soeiro: You may have some good points to make, but obviously you are so impressed with yourself that you think somebody is going to actually read through your novel-length letter. You know like the First Lady of the United States. Uh-huh. Here’s some constructive advice: the NEXT time you pen such a missive under the delusion than anyone wants to read anything that verbose, go back and figure out a way to make the same points with 75% less prose. You’re a college girl, I’m sure you can manage it. Nobody will miss the stuff you leave on the cutting room floor. That doesn’t mean anybody will actually read your next letter. But at least their eyes won’t roll back in their head as they toss it in the trash and there is a SLIGHT chance they might read it and actually get your message.

  136. HortonHearsABoo says:

    There are many books in children’s literature today which are (a) well-written (b) well-illustrated (c) are fun to read (d) represent a broad spectrum of cultures, races and religions. Dr. Seuss was great for the 1960s. Not so much today. If someone were to really investigate the kinds of books that schools need, perhaps the staff members in Mrs. Trump’s office would have come up with a better list. (Because, c’mon folks, White House staff do 99.9% of this work, and the rest is just bad penmanship — aka her “signature.”) It would also have been nice to have schools which have no budgets for books (say, in flyover country) to receive these books. And finally, it would have been really nice if the teacher/librarian wrote a thank you note, sent it, and THEN did a blog post on “10 books we don’t want in our school library”. I am no fan of Dotard 45. I am certainly not impressed with a Secretary of Education who didn’t send her kids to a public school – ever. But manners suggest that you thank in public, critique in private.

  137. I do feel that we should teach children to understand and express gratitude. The calls for doing so in this context however, are at best misplaced.
    To a teacher or librarian working with emerging readers, beginning readers, and so on, up to students reading on a college level, books are offered as treatments are offered by physicians. Would a patient with appendicitis be right in accepting a lovely cup of tea instead of treatment by a surgeon? Books can open new worlds and expand a child’s world. Would you be satisfied if all a travel agent could offer were expensive pistcards and could not arrage an actual trip. Books are tools, experiences, bridges to real people and places, doors to discover art and imagination, keys to developing empathy and understanding, and more.
    A well designed library collection is essential. The triviality of the small group of books offered in contrast to the serious investment required to aquire, maintain, and track a collection shows an administration that is either unaware of education needs or deems public school students unworthy of the right to a first class education. Either is unacceptable.

  138. I am stunned by the biased and rude response to this gift as well as your statement here proclaiming the drawings in the Seuss books as racist. It becomes clearer by the day why so many see racism where there is none. You, madam, are foisting your own prejudices onto the children in your school. I find that very sad. I pray for the day we return to judging people by their character, not the melanin – or lack of – in their skin.

  139. Leslie Carroll says:

    I had never heard that the Cat in the Hat might be black and that it was a racist image — although it may have indeed been derogatory. Theodore Geisel (the real name of “Dr. Seuss”) was a Cornell Professor and rumor always was that the image he created for the Cat in the Hat was of the man who was sleeping with his wife! (a man who was not African-American).

  140. Liz you are extremely rude. I am glad you are not the librarian at the school my children attended. Working in the City of Cambridge explains everything about you and your racial remarks.

  141. What happened to my post. You did not like being called rude and pompous? Only in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  142. As one whose very first library card came from the Cambridge Public Library branch attached to a Cambridge public school, I am appalled by the arrogant, ungrateful grandstanding of this librarian. Cambridge, once a place of intellectual curiosity and learning, has fallen hard and fast.

  143. In the Middle says:

    Doctor Seuss’ children’s books completely changed the field of children’s literature. To dismiss them as “racist” is arrogant. If it takes careful study to find racism in his tropes, I doubt children will see it. I use Dr. Seuss to teach children about hidden messages in stories. My 7th Graders are all very familiar with Dr. Seuss. When we read a Dr. Seuss book they are familiar with, they are amazed at the point the he was trying to make with the book, such as ecology in “The Lorax”, or racism in “The Sneetches”, that they never realized was there when reading it as children. We also look at his work as a political cartoonist and do look at how he drew exaggerated characters to symbolize the Japanese and Nazi soldiers. Racism is apparent in his political cartoons, as he meant to portray the enemy as monsters. We also look as his work evolved and his portrayals changed. Dr. Seuss characters were drawn in a fantastic exaggerated design. I do not feel children see these as racist caricatures. . Children of all races love his work. If he was such a racist, why did he write a book to show the futility of thinking one group to be superior over another on the basis of appearance? He had obviously changed his sentiments if he ever was racist. Sometimes I feel we look too hard and read into books things that they were never intended to portray. I have seen many authors comment on a literary analysis of the themes of their books and say that they had never intended it in the way it was perceived. To each his own. I feel Dr. Seuss’s books still fill a purpose in our world. While the books on the list are certainly fine pieces of literature, none of them has had the popularity and staying power through many generations as has Seuss, so why not read them all?

  144. Lisa Thatcher says:

    I hope you are severely dealt with for shoving your political agenda down children’s throats. Public librarians are to be neutral! The library is not where you flex your political muscle. It’s where you show kids how fun and amazing books are! I don’t know of anyone more fun than Dr Seuss. You are using your position (paid for by tax dollars) to make a political statement against President Trump. First paragraph jabs: not inclusive, intolerant, racist, economically superior as well as others. Don’t you see how superior you are? You are blinded by your rage. I keep my kids away from intolerant people like you. There.are still parents who do not want their kids told they can be boy or girl and that homosexuality is ok. We want our kids free of harassment and bullying for not following your agenda. The population that does not ascribe to your political agenda are the ones being persecuted.

  145. In the Middle says:

    If you did not need the books, why did you not pass them on to a school that did? You could still have sent a letter stating how you disposed of them. While you believe Dr. Seuss’ books should no longer be available to children, I heartily disagree. I use those books every year with my 7th Graders. Students of all races love his colorful, fantastically exaggerated illustrations and the lyrical rhyming language. I have honestly never once heard any student state that they felt they were racist in any way. We look at the way Seuss crafted his books to appeal to many different levels, with a basic story for children that has much more insight and meaning for adults. We use books such as “The Lorax” which deals with conservation, or “The Sneetches” which points out the futility of racism. My kids are always amazed that they never realized all that was in the story. We also study his political cartoons and trace how his drawing evolved with world events, such as the characters of the Japanese and Germans that were mean to portray them as monsters and how they were used as propaganda in the war. If his books have had to be closely scrutinized by experts to identify racist tropes, I seriously doubt children are getting that from them. I have seen many authors comment on literary analysis of themes of their novels that they never meant what the authority writing the analysis claimed at all. It is in the eye of the beholder. Dr. Seuss revolutionized children’s literature and I do not find that his books are dated. Conservation and racism are headline topics today. Yes, there are many worthy books available today, unlike when Dr. Seuss changed the genre, but why can’t they read them all? Dr. Seuss has endured through many generations and I would bet he will be around for many more. While a few might be little dated, most are ageless in their message and appeal. They are certainly beloved by my “ultra cool” middle-schoolers. The greater issue to me is that, once again, the schools that need the help the most are denied it, while those that have all they need are rewarded.

  146. Linda Schmaelzle says:

    Sorry, Liz is dumber than a doorknob, her MA discounted.
    Have her get herself to the Dr. Seuss museum at the Springfield Library, Springfield, MA. Not far from Cambridge. While there, take a quick side trip to the Forest Park Zoo where Ted’s dad worked until he retired.
    We met him years ago since he was first cousin to my dad’s father, my grandfather. I remember his joking that we could find him at his office, next to the monkey cage. We’d recognize him because he was the monkey in the red cap, his trademark hat. Swing by Ted’s house. His childhood was filled with memories of his dad’s job. I imagine he was read the German folk tales his grandma knew from her childhood.
    I’ve used 5 of the books to teach themes in young adult literature with my 8th graders before I retired from teaching. They cover all themes: bullying, excessive pride, blended families, step parenting, false pride, war, commitment, greed, envy, , just to name a few. The concept of theme is difficult since many confuse it with plot, as Liz seems to have done.
    Oh, for years I began my 8th grade reading with the African Proverbs unit since it too focused on themes and universal lessons to be learned.
    So, hopefully she’ll go to Springfield.
    Oh, it’s been a while since I attended the ALAN mini conference, part of the National Teachers of Reading conventions. Loved meeting new and exciting new authors of YAL.

  147. Linda Schmaelzle says:

    I apologize for saying the author was dumber than a doorknob. I should have said she was misguided or uninformed.
    Professionally, I disagree with her.
    Personally, I must defend a member of my family against racism from someone who didn’t know where Ted’s dad worked. He and my grandfather shared Christine Schmaelzle who came from Germany and ensured we existed.

  148. Did she miss the point? The gift was to the children not her. It was not hers to accept or decline. The First Lady sent a beautiful letter and a gift. Accept it and let the children know they were thought of by the Presidency. She should use something else for her platform. I don’t care how well thought out her response was it was rude and not her place. This is the selfish agenda that keeps us divided. Yes, we have freedom of speech but let’s be responsible about it. Start a blog to voice your ideas. The gift was for the children. Not yours!

  149. Thank you so much for making your voice heard and standing up against the hypocrisy of our current so called administration. Will you be running for office? (I hope) Your words were well chosen and your content right on. The books were sent from the administration and you merely responded to same. I’m sorry your higher ups think you are not qualified to accept books. I’m sure they know much more about appropriate childrens’ books than a degreed librarian. There response to you sure smelled of some higher up that voted for Trump(ism) with hurt feelings. I just wonder who is going to translate it to the Trumps and Betsy DeVoid. Arizona is losing teachers to other states in droves because they are the lowest paid in the nation. Dr. Price has illegally used private charter jets 24 times to date totalling over $400,000. What Arizona could have done with that money!! Sovery, very, sad!!!

  150. School and libraries are there to teach kids. Not grandstand a political opinion, and show that you are an ungrateful so and so. Get on with your job and keep your opinions to yourself.

  151. Paul Tierney says:

    I found this letter to Melania Trump and the responses to it very interesting.
    COMMENTS fall mostly into three groups: 1) Right on! Or 2) How rude! 3) Partial agreement/disagreement (by far the smallest group)
    OBSERVATION: Groups 1 & 2 are talking past each other, i.e.: not communicating. Whatever you think of the librarian’s letter, this is a beautiful example of how we Americans are not “getting” each other. There are pages and pages of comments, most simply restating either position 1 or position 2 without adding anything new.
    OBSERVATION: Very few commenters express any curiosity about anything in the letter or anything any other commenter has said. We seem to be a very self-assured group.
    OBSERVATION: Group 1, which champions speaking up, especially to authority, doesn’t sound very open to dissenting opinions – because they are the authorities on what’s important? OTOH, Group 2, which champions good manners, politeness and propriety often doesn’t sound very polite or recognize that great harm can be done by people who are polite.
    OBSERVATION: Differences of opinion are fine, and so is hashing out the various arguments. But that’s the easy part. And if we stop there we haven’t accomplished much except to convince ourselves that people who disagree with us are ___________ (fill in the adjectives of your choice that mean, “not worth talking to.”).
    OBSERVATION: “Not worth talking to,” might be more accurately rendered, “No matter how often I repeat it, they refuse to accept the obvious superiority of my position (and the utter ridiculousness of their opinion).
    QUESTION: If continuing on this path isn’t going to get us anywhere, what _should_ we do? This seems like a good place to remember Michael Mead’s wisdom: “The only solution to conflict that satisfies the soul, is creativity.” That says to me, forget compromise, forget taking turns, forget formulas of any kind, and start thinking beyond A vs. B, Us vs. Them, Good vs. Bad.
    OTHER POSSIBILITIES?

  152. I like where Ms. Soiero is coming from on gifting books where they’re most needed, but I take exception with her dig at Dr. Seuss as cliche and racist for some of his early journalistic illustrations and ethnic caricatures in Mulberry Street.

    The sensitivity, humor and insight of his body of work as a whole is so far beyond what any children’s book author has done or will ever do, it’s staggering. The Lorax is one of the greatest books on environmental sustainability ever penned, while the Sneetches and Horton Hears a Who offer some of the most elegant, accessible lessons on inclusion. Yertle the Turtle on the deadend road of autocracy, the Butter Battle Book on arms escalation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas on turning the other cheek and loving others…the list goes on and on.

  153. Disappointed American says:

    1. The librarian crossed a line by intertwining her on political beliefs with her job. This is extremely narrow thinking. It also shows her inability to keep boundaries, as well as abuse/use her position for her own platform of beliefs.
    2. She missed many teachable moments. The opportunity to demonstrate to children how to graciously accept a gift; to respect the role of First Lady and our country; to encourage understanding about others point of view; and to value writers of all backgrounds for their art.
    3. I am grateful that I am in the latter stages of my life. I am sad for the turmoil ahead that the next generation of entitled, self absorbed and narrow minded individuals have chosen as a path! It’s a shallow generation ahead. My heart goes out to young people who still have values and ethics.

  154. Sometimes, being “virtuous” isn’t the answer. This gift was misguided, not mostly because the books the First Lady opted to send were Dr. Seuss books, but because she (and/or her team) opted to send them to a well-funded school, not in need of ten books. As the author stated, there are SO many schools out there that do need access to resources, from books to repairs to funding for teachers. Why wouldn’t the First Lady have decided to send books to those schools? This is a classic case of rewarding the privileged, and ignoring those who could use a boost. Thank you for your thoughtful response, Liz.

  155. Damaris Brandt says:

    This librarian who think she’s a blogger definitely needs to be removed from her position she has proven that she is not a librarian by turning away books no librarian ever turns away a book ! May the spirit of Dr. Seuss haunt her forever!

  156. There will always be those who distract by criticizing the knee to the flag rather than the threat to lives, the written letter rather than inequities in education. There will always be fragile feelings that miss the point. Thankfully there will sometimes be conspirators like Liz who get the point and who make the point. And, there will be the Horn Book to shine the light.

  157. Extremely rude! The irony that it’s “Banned Books” week across America was not lost on me.

  158. Books like “The Lorax” and “Oh the Places You’ll Go” are treasures, and have done more good for this world than the collective output of most practice Cantabridgian academics living there today. Bravo, Ted Geisel, even with your flaws, for being a good person and an inspiration to children.

    If you have a problem with his WWII stereotypes and likely support of internment (or at least not speaking out against it at the time) done when American GI’s were dying in Pearl Harbor and Bataan, perhaps you can not be a hypocrite and call for the tearing down of the Roosevelt Memorial in DC as well..

  159. I believe this librarian is way to ignorant, rude and pretentious for her own good. She should have accepted the books with a simple thank you. They then could have been donatted to a local shelter or hospital. She set a bad example and frankly if it were my child going to that school i would be ashamed.

  160. Ross Newland says:

    I want to applaud her. I do. But the schools with the lowest academics and the least funding are the ones who actually NEED her support

  161. It saddens me how many library professionals spell Dr. Seuss’ name wrong.

    As for the response, I was also taught that you thank the person giving you the gift. What you do with it after is your business. If my children received a gift of something they already had, they thanked the giver and we usually donated the gift afterwards. As a librarian, I never turn down free books. If I can’t use them in the collection, usually one of the classroom teachers is happy to add them to their classroom library. Dr. Seuss is a favorite here and I spend the entire month of March reading his books to my Kindergartners. Copies gifted by the First Lady would be even more special. I don’t hold her responsible for what her husband says and does.

  162. Declining a wholesome and well intended gift from the FLOTUS and insulting a beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss, shows a real lack of class by this “librarian” and political bias. When will the students be put first before the idiosyncrasies of the liberal adults with no regard but their own selfish and narrow agendas?!

  163. Wow. Receives books from first lady & uses it as a platform to bring up how much better she is than these books while citing some fringe liberal beliefs about the book’s author. What happened to being grateful? Everyone wants their voice to be heard, but the reasons for “shouting” have become so incredibly stupid.

  164. Liz’s message is important on so many levels. Thank you, Liz! Every child and school should have a librarian like you.

  165. And to those of you who are concerned that Liz is not a good example of “good manners” for her students. She is that and more. She is also a model of respect, empathy, morals, ethics and speaking up for what is fair and what is right. POTUS and FLOYUS – not so much.

  166. teri torchia says:

    It is Mrs.Trump’s letter that is “pompous” and “rude.” She had the nerve to write this letter to a public school while public education is being trampled on by DeVos and friends just to make a buck? Liz “went high” and wrote a polite, respectful and thoughtful response. Thank you. Liz. Every school and every child deserves an educator like you.

  167. None of your business says:

    some of you motherfuckers are just disgusting. you call the author all sorts of names saying that she never thank the first lady one point in fact she spent three paragraphs thanking her for the books.

    obviously the people that need the books are you need to learn how to read.

    there is zero rude about this letter. she think the person that gave her the gift and then she went on to explain why she wasn’t going to be keeping the gift.

    you need something to be angry about? In this day and age? you getting ass hurt over somebody who told somebody else an honest evaluation of a gift ever given?

    I’ll give you something to be angry about: go fuck yourself sideways with all these books.

  168. Rick Lindquist says:

    Is this how book banning – book burning starts? Does Liz Phipps Soeiro speak for the school district or are these her personal opinions only? The double speak about “inclusiveness” combined with the “Eye of Sauron” search for offenders of current era correctness is more dangerous to the larger community than any number of Dr Seuss books donated by Mrs. Trump could ever be. How will our current fascination of searching out any possible fault or slight be viewed by our descendents? Thank God we’re so perfect. Future generations will hold us in such perfect regard.

  169. Jim (http://www.hbook.com/2017/09/blogs/family-reading/dear-mrs-trump/#comment-2315604), please mind your words — your language is inappropriate. And your spelling skills are lacking. Show some respect for other people’s opinions.

  170. It’s difficult to read posts from Trump supporters calling this intelligent and thoughtful young lady rude & mannerless. Do they not get it? By his daily rhetoric, he instills and inspires rudeness to our young people. He’s a disgusting rude, vile person. Wake up people.

  171. Barbara Ann says:

    And you ma’am are ungrateful! If you can’t use those books in your library I’m sure there are numerous child centers in the Cambridge – Boston area that would have loved to have had them!

  172. William Johnson says:

    Sorry, wrong time to make a statement of your beliefs to the world. You may be a degreed librarian, but you suffer from a lack of common sense and good manners. Is this what your school is teaching children? To always fight back when you disagree with someone? What kind of world would that make?

    You missed the forest for the trees, Ms. Soeiro.

  173. I have never read a Dr. Seuss book. My mother would not allow me to read his books as she said he was a liberal and his books were too strange.

  174. Melinda Werling says:

    Liz Phipps Soeiro, regardless of how you feel about our current administration, this is totally disrespectful of the Office of the First Lady of the United States. I doubt very much that you would have sent a similar letter to Michelle Obama, if she had sent you Dr. Seuss books. This has nothing to do with how you really feel about the books or your school’s need for the books, but about your obvious need to put Melania Trump in her place. I would not want my children stepping foot in your library.

  175. Deana Criess says:

    I love this so very much. So well stated, so respectfully worded, so spot on. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  176. Many children have learned to read by way of Dr. Seuss. These books also have brought up wonderful memories for older folks reading to young children. I was supposed to come to Cambridge for a visit, but I would rather spend my time and money in a place where people are not ungrateful and think they are better than others. You really need to brush up on your manners. How you are a role model for children with your attitude is beyond me.

  177. Melanie Bowles says:

    As I read this letter, I see a school librarian exploiting an opportunity to be political with her comments. Might want to put a book on that list of some manners. Sad indeed.

  178. Sue Olmstead says:

    For a moment, let’s put aside all the intellectual analysis for the letter which Ms Liz wrote and sent to the White House. Lets put aside the fact that she is indeed capable of writing an extensve “covered all the bases” letter.
    EXCEPT for one little base. That base being the fact that these books were not just sent to her and her employees to read and enjoy but they were sent to the children who frequent that library, to read and enjoy. Therefore, i see this as a complete failure on her part to display simple human kindness and respect to others, including the FLOTUS and the children who use that library. The type of reasoning she gives for refusing these books really makes me wonder…Does she also refuse other gifts given on the basis of whether she deems them “of use” or “importance” regardless of the good will and kind intentions of another?

  179. Did anyone tell Mrs. Obama that “The Cat in the Hat” was racist. Google Michelle Obama and Dr. Seuss and you will find pictures of her reading “The Cat in the Hat” to children.

    I commend both first Lady’s for promoting reading. It’s easy to throw stones at those we don’t like, even when they are doing something that we all ultimately agree with, promoting education.

  180. I sure hope her students can see beyond her arrogant disregard for being a “gracious receiver”
    I totally agree with a prior note :
    “Would just like to remind the author that no one receives a free education. Someone has to pay for it. And I am not impressed with her list of books of indoctrination. And that a simple thank you would have been all that was needed. That is what the previous administration would have gotten for a similar gift. Just a thank you, no insulting letter.”
    This woman is the epitome of a HIGH CLASS sophomoric JERK!
    We need well educated students, but alas, with self asserted elitists like this, THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!

  181. Over the top and quite humorous and thought this was from the Onion until I read the link. Happy to read some of these responses and see that there are still some normal people out there with common sense and manners in positions of authority. Sad that next time I vote on a library issue I will remember this smirky self-righteous article and probably forget some of the responses to it.

  182. Sue Olmstead says:

    This is a glaring lack of common human kindness and respect given on behalf of a “gift” given. It was given not just to to the librarian and her employees, but rather to children who frequent that library. Just goes to show you that all the brains in the world cannot supply someone with simple human kindness, decency and respect.

  183. Lesley Hahn says:

    I agree . 10 books, all Dr Seuss, for one school in each state, specifically sent to schools who already had high award winning standards. Sounds like a too little, wrongly placed, feel good, photo op, yay us moment and nothing more.

  184. Trisha Gordon says:

    I agree that the books should have gone to a school with a lower budget. I’m so glad she points out that the numbers do not tell the full story. Hopefuly Melania and Donald will think more about education policy. And whether Dr. Seuss is right or wrong, why did ALL the books have to be from the same author? How about a variety of authors for different reading levels?

  185. It’s not a “gift” as many are stating; these books and the shipping are paid for by the taxpayers. Let’s slash their funding and then send them a “gift”. Seriously?

  186. Hades Helpdesk says:

    She must have had so much fun living her dream to tell off the President (by proxy). Her blog is full of stereotypical Critical Theory nonsense, so this must have been the highlight of her career. The fact her employer rebuked her is probably a bonus–now she can suffer for her cause. Ah, nothing like the over-educated to think they’re leading a revolution.

    BTW her tone reminds me of Ask Doctor Science – “Remember, I know more than you do…I have a Masters Degree – in Library Science!” *cue oppressive 1950s white male heteronormative background music*

  187. A Mannered Adult says:

    As an “educator” it saddens me that instead of taking this as an opportunity to show gratitude for a gift regardless of whether you found it worthy of your fine upscale establishment. But instead you have taught then that if a GIFT isn’t up to their standards it’s okay to not just reject the GIFT but to take the time to be rude and mean spirited and further felt the need to embarrass the gift giver.
    Maybe you should use some of your letter writing time to work with the understanding privileged and gain some manners. I’ve done exactly that. On one occasion a homeless man gave me a bottle caps from his pocket as a thank you for providing him with a warm meal and blanket. Did I need the bottle caps? No, but I showed gratitude and grace by thanking this gentleman for his gift.
    But just so you understand, NO ONE believes you wrote this letter out of anything but spite for the current administration. Even the School District recognizes this and made it very clear that You Madame have zero authority to neither accept or reject such a gift. And it does not condone your use of your position to voice your political views. So out the window goes your high and mighty self proclaimed importance.

  188. Kelly Winters says:

    If you check her online catalog of titles that she has in her library, she has 20 different Dr. Seuss titles on the shelves right now. She even has multiple copies of some.

    They are good enough to have on the shelf, but not good enough to receive as a gift? That doesn’t make sense to me.

  189. I am grateful for this incident, because I am teaching a Sunday class on gratitude. I will use it as Example #1, but will not use the librarian or school’s name out of respect for their privacy. The librarian’s name is not relevant; what she did is entirely relevant. It underscores the principle that there is little connection between intelligence and wisdom. Just as the NFL players who erroneously have decided to take out their pique at President Trump on the ceremony of the presentation of the American flag and the national anthem, Soeiro is taking out her pique at the politics of the moment not on the elected occupant of the White House, but on his legal immigrant wife who speaks five languages, for whom English is not a first language, and who sent this letter and these Dr. Seuss books to the children of a school where surely 90% of the parents and teachers voted against her husband. She has also taken out her pique, by extension, on the children of the school who lost a golden legacy that they would remembered long after Soerio’s name is forgotten.

    Both Mrs. Trump and the children here deserve better.

  190. Would you have done the same if the books were from Michelle Obama?

  191. My mother was librarian for a small town in New Hampshire. When she began the job the retiring librarian advised her that she must always: “Protect the books from the children!” (My mother thought this was ridiculous.)
    When Ms. Liz Phipps Soeiro retires her instruction might be: “Protect the children from the books – which I think is ridiculous.

  192. Globalwarrior says:

    What a hateful person! I did not vote for Trump (nor Obama) because I did not think they were the best candidates for the job, but I respect the office and that we live in a democracy. I would have gratefully accepted any gift from the First Lady of either political party. How low class to insult her by saying the kids were amazed by her “stamped” signature and to not only reject her gift, but to attempt to belittle by telling her what a “better gift” would have been.
    I understand that the librarian is probably unhappy with many things in her life and wants to lay some of that unhappiness on others, but she should be grateful that she had such an opportunity. She may be jealous of the position of the First Lady or intimidated but she should not outwardly convey those insecurities. It appears to me she is an opportunist that is attempting to steal a platform from someone that is trying to do good for her own purposes. What an unfortunate person and response!

  193. Of all the comments I have read I assume none of you have read a Dr Seuss book – congratulations – you are probably the same people who voted for Hillary who she and Obama were trying to put an end to the United States so we could live like a 3rd world country and live our lives as if we were back in the Wild Wild West with no laws – maybe if your parents let you be kids you would be more open minded – sorry you lost your childhood – can you even remember the books that were read to you – if you can your a bunch of nerds anyway

  194. I am no Trump fan, but this was a completely classless and clueless response. Shame on you, Ms. Soeiro.

  195. Beckie McElhaney says:

    It was a gift and should have been accepted. Dr.Seuss is beloved by children today as much as ever. I read them when I was a teacher and I read them to my grandkids now. Dolly Parton has a great charity that gives children books so if the school didn’t need them they could regift them.

  196. I think this was more of a political statement than anything else. I think it is sad that children who are our future leaders, and future teachers are being punished for what a librarian decided is her library. Who gave her the power to decide what book could, or should be excluded from a library based on her belief that the author is something other than what she believes to be upstanding, and/or diverse? This is the problem with america right now. You believe you have the right to shove your political views and agendas down the throats of anyone within hearing distance. Now because of the world wide web you have the ability to do it long distance. Take your Masters degree and shove it where the sun don’t shine lady. I, for one, am so glad to be living a life with morals, manners, and the etiquette that I have passed on to both of my children. I see my children and know that they are GREAT humans to keep the world balanced with compassion, kindness, love, integrity, and MANNERS!

  197. This is really discouraging. Every opportunity of a jab was taken in the refusal letter. The letter was very judgemental and was not gracious at all. 🙁 I sensed hatred in it.
    This is not about politics; this is not about the Trumps; this is not about you, Ms. Librarian. This is about children and reading. A gracious acceptance letter would have been nice. The books could have been donated to another school at a later time.

  198. That was incredibly tacky, Liz. Instead of rejecting a shipment of books from the WHITEHOUSE, you could have been a fine example for the children on gracefully receiving gifts, as well as letting them know just how special they are for having been chosen by the President (and his wife) of the United States. Way to make them feel as if they mean nothing. It is not YOUR library, you merely represent the library, and you have done a terrific job of failing everyone involved for the sake proving your point, which was beyond selfish. You weren’t thinking of the children at all. They would have loved to enjoy some Dr. Seuss books, for he is not a tired, ambassador to bright, energetic and fun-loving children, but he surely is to somebody such as yourself who is so inundated in your own twisted political agenda, that you’ve forgotten how to read a freaking Dr. Seuss book to a 10 year old. You are what is wrong with the the system, not Mrs. Trump. I hope you’re reprimanded, if not fired altogether. You don’t deserve those children.

  199. Thank you for sending this to the First Lady – and thank you for sharing it with us! What a tactful, educational way to respond to the current administration’s damaging educational and immigration policies.

    I’m grateful for people like you in our country, who stand up for what’s right, give voice to those who have no voice, and have courage to speak truth to power. Patriotism in this country means standing up for human rights, freedom from oppression, and for the good of all members of our society – not just the rich white ones. Thank you for reminding the First Lady of this. YES!!!

    Please don’t be discouraged by naysayers who are critical of your letter – they’re most likely Russian comment-bots anyway 🙂

  200. You may not be aware, Ms. Soeira, but you have just exposed yourself to be exactly the leftist you are. Heaven help the children in your charge. They have no hope of coming away from your school without being indoctrinated into your group think. The arrogance and condescension dripping from your post is meant to embarrass the FLOTUS. Fortunately, she has a lot more class than you, and will not take your bait. Ms.Soeira, you serve up a great example of the elitist attitude that the rest of us despise.

  201. I agree with the first half of your essay, but the second half of it unfortunately undermines the first. It is fair to point out that your school is affluent and not in need of the materials, and that other schools would benefit more from a donation. The essay begins to fall apart when you gratuitously denigrate Dr. Seuss and turn a principled letter about inequality in education into a piece of revisionist scholarship that belongs in a undergraduate English essay. Dr. Seuss is not a ‘cliche,’ Theodore Geisell was a trailblazer in children’s literature. If you can not see the vibrancy and originality in his work, that is because his contribution and influence is so great that it has become part of the fabric of the art itself. It is no doubt true that certain attitudes present in his work have not aged well; we might also say the same of Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, and even Shakespeare, but their writing remains vital. None of this work is ‘tired and worn,’ and each piece of this and other literature remains an opportunity to discus important issues and teach critical thinking.

  202. zeke malone says:

    Liz Phipps Soeiro,
    How incredibly crass, rude and witless. What a terribly poor example for our children. You went out of your way to tout your education and flaunt it as though you are better than the First Lady when in fact your words and actions prove the opposite.

    You should be fired and at the very least placed on administrative lease without pay for 3 months, post a public letter of apology to Mrs. Trump on this blog and have an official letter of reprimand placed in your file permanently. What a sad little person you are …… I apologize to our children and Mrs. Trump for you !

  203. Wally Potter says:

    The COMMENT POLICY:1.BE RESPECTFUL, AND DO NOT ATTACK THE AUTHOR, PEOPLE….
    Obviously COMMENT POLICY (and common decency) DOESN’T APPLY to the queen library ’employee’.
    Liz Phipps Soeiro
    School Librarian
    Cambridge, MA
    Quote “Do not look a GIFT horse in the mouth”
    Ms. Liz Phipps Soeiro you are totally disrespectful as a person, as a school librarian, and as a state EMPLOYEE at Cambridge, MA.
    I regret that you have attempted to use your small position in life to discredit our First Lady for sending a GIFT of thanks to the Cambridge library which you took as a ‘personal GIFT to you’ 😲
    The GIFT was not given to you personally, you are just an employee… possibly another over paid employee that believes they are too important of a wheel to be replaced (fired).

  204. This librarian is a great example of why we are experiencing such division in this country.
    She exudes the “I know better than you. I am better than you…” attitude that turns off most people.
    Ms. Soeiro is ungrateful and lacks manners with her action, despite the “pleasant” tone of her letter in reply.

  205. Ms. Soeiro having teachers who are not rude, ignorant, hate-mongers has been shown to improve student performance. Maybe you should go back to reading Dr. Suess yourself. I believe you could learn a lesson from “The Sneetches”! You are also an incredible hypocrite -you talk the talk about underprivileged schools yet I don’t see you teaching at one. Put your masters degree where your big mouth is -there’s plenty of openings in Chigago and Detroit.

  206. It is a shame that while this woman may be educated she has failed to learn the basics of human interaction. To criticize a gift is not only rude but unnecessary. If these would have been sent by Ms. Obama the letter would have been a profuse thank you not a political statement from a self centered ungrateful woman. To start a letter off by patting herself on the back for her great education and knowledge was very evident as to the remainder of the letter. This was just political nothing else.

  207. Jose Miguel says:

    It’s refreshing to know that people like you still exist where you can stand for those like me who dont have a voice. I appreciate what you wrote on that letter.

  208. Julie Bowman says:

    What school librarian turns down FREE books?? As a retired middle school librarian(I too hold a master’s in library science) and 36 years of experience, I started a book bank(Bowman’s Book Bank) last year to hand out free books to the children in my former school district(where I also volunteer) who have little to no access to books in their neighborhoods…I am constantly looking for free books for them. I also loathe Trump and what he is doing to our country, but that is beside the point. You are making this about yourself and not your students. A simple “thank you” would have sufficed and then perhaps you could have donated those books to someone like me who is trying to get books into the hands of children who have little to no access…am sure there are MANY places that would gladly take them off of your hands.

  209. Globalwarrior says:

    Apparently the moderators have a bias and delete those comments with which we disagree. I see that my comment and that of many others that disagree with the author was taken down. It was censored even though it contained no obscene, profane or vulgar language or comments. While I see multiple vulgar comments still here (that happen to support the author). Censorship at it’s finest!

  210. People who don’t see the point of the letter, really don’t understand that a more diversified book library it’s needed, demographics had changed and it will continue to change.

  211. Rachael Sosthby says:

    Apparently the parents of Ms Soeiro failed to teach her Manners, Courtesy and Respect, which seems to be so rampant among Democrats and NFL Players.

  212. This is a simple thing for me…

    I expect public school employees to keep their personal politics out of the public schools; once they walk through those doors, they are government employees on the job – and that is no place for personal/partisan issues (e.g. politics, religion, et al.)

    Now, I must apply that yardstick to all such speech or action, regardless of my agreement, disagreement, or neutrality on the particular point in question. Otherwise, I’m little more than a hypocrite.

    So, just as I oppose:

    * the notion of a history teacher soft-soaping slavery in the US,
    * the notion of school employees wearing political campaign buttons on the job,
    * the notion of a school coach taking players to a church revival service,
    * the notion of public schools refusing to broadcast a Presidential address to students on political grounds, and
    * the notion of a biology teacher skipping over evolution on religious grounds,

    I have to take a step back in this case and say that the librarian’s actions were improper and unacceptable. I have neither the knowledge nor the experience to question her professional judgment in library accessions (nor is it my place to do so), but her actions in making the matter public and doing so in strongly partisan tones were wholly inappropriate.

    So, while I happen to agree with her assessment of the gesture – I, too, think it was little more than a publicity stunt, lacking in both planning and execution – I can’t support how she handled the matter.

  213. The letter was alarmingly ungrateful. The librarian should be ashamed . And should retire!

  214. If Dr. Seuss is tired and racist then why did Obama say “pretty much everything you need to know is in Dr. Seuss.” Lets be clear. The children were denied the books because Melania Trump is married to Donald Trump. Why not just give them to another school?? I cant believe how petty and obnoxious liberals can be. But I am sure if the librarian was asked if her library needed funds for more books then of course she would gladly accept and not ask where the money came from. How pathetic.

  215. Cambridgeport Resident says:

    Dear Lizzy,
    It is insulting that my tax dollars help pay for your job. Your comments about school choice reflect your desire to be protected by the Union and not be accountable for your disgraceful comments. This shows clearly that you are more interested in protecting undeserving employees of the union rather than the education of your kids. You could have easily accepted the books and donate to a worthy cause, but no, you decided to go on a tirade. It is really a shame that you might influence young minds in our local elementary school.

  216. If this lady wants to read a book about being accepted for who you are, and not what you look like on the outside, she should read “The Sneetches.”

  217. I grew up in a place where manners were and continue to be of the utmost importance. You did not enter someone’s home without being invited in. You referred To your elders as Ma’am and Sir. You said Please and Thank You every opportunity you got and one more time just in case. Oh and also, you moved off the sidewalk if you were Black and a White person was walking by, cause you know good manners and also to avoid being lynched. You respectfully referred to Everyone as Sir and Ma’am even though you were called Boy or Girl and you were a grown adult ’cause you know- manners. Now this librarian is supposed to accept books from a First Lady even though she knows that there are schools more in need of books ’cause manners. She shouldn’t t speak to the lack of equity in schools cause of manners. She is not supposed to offer a solution to a problem she sees cause, yup manners! I see the ‘good manners’ and ‘proper upbringing’ argument’ being used a lot by my fellow ‘manners’ devotees. It’s a bit problematic because a lot of hypocrisy and injustice can happen in the name of manners. Let’s not knock someone for making points that are valid. We all want this country to succeed, we just have different ways of doing it. Please don’t lose sight of what the author is trying to do – highlighting that resources need to be directed to schools in need, highlighting the existence of more current and diverse books that could be sent and talking about inequity in schools. See what I did there? That’s cause I have good manners.

  218. I don’t think Melania Trump actually wrote that letter. Her assistant probably did.

  219. Patricia Garin says:

    Well Done! No surprise here. It’s all about YOU, not the children.

  220. I see your point on the needs being elsewhere but disagree with you “snobby” comment on Dr. Seuss, they are good fun books for children who may not be into reading but can read and enjoy rhyming the words which may lead to more reading. You know like the more you read the more you search for challenges in your reading,

  221. Mrs. Ladgosh says:

    Right at the outset of the letter:

    Dear Mrs. Trump,
    Thank you for the ten Dr. Seuss titles that you sent my school library in recognition of this year’s National Read a Book Day.

    So please stop with the “you’re not grateful” angle. And by the way, you know who else used to be told to be grateful? Slaves.

    No one should refrain from raising critically important issues, especially in today’s climate. It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure our resources are used wisely and that our children are served to the best ability. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to raise our children to be free, independent thinkers who respect every one of their peers.

  222. Tyrell Anderson says:

    While you made some valid, good points, it is simply disgusting to brag on yourself. Your having a master’s doesn’t validate your argument than the argument itself. You really need to understand that. If in fact you thought you were qualifying yourself, then simply say that. It helps to round out your point.